Violent racial attacks over the President-elect
The LA Times reported that just weeks after the 2008 presidential election concluded that Barack Obama would be the first African-American president, racist attacks and statements have been present in cities and towns all over the country.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, reported there have been over 200 incidents of effigies threats and attacks such as effigies of the President-elect, as well as noose hangings and cross burnings.
After decades of little presence and organization, the Ku Klux Klan has resurfaced to add to the racial violence.
As recently as two weeks ago, a woman was murdered over allegedly trying to become a member but then changing her mind. That was in the town of Bogalusa, La., once known as the Klan capital.
In late October, two men with association to a Klan chapter with a violent reputation in Kentucky were charged in a pre-meditated plot to kill 88 black students and proceed to decapitate an additional 14 students. Police also found they planned to assassinate Obama by shooting him from a moving car while wearing white tuxedos and top hats.
"We've seen everything from cross burnings on lawns of interracial couples to effigies of Obama hanging from nooses to unpleasant exchanges in schoolyards," said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama. "I think we're in a worrying situation right now, a perfect storm of conditions coming together that could easily favor the continued growth of these groups."
As of yet, the FBI has not released any hate crime statistics for 2008.
Experts say there are about 6,000 Klan members worldwide, a significant decrease from the 4 million members in the early 1900s.